KATHMANDU: Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey has called on all political leaders and officials, including ministers and bureaucrats, to strictly abide by the diplomatic code of conduct at this time of crisis in the aftermath of quakes.

All the leaders and officials sitting in responsible positions must bear in mind that their conducts with foreign envoys, leaders and delegates can have larger implications in the country’s national interest, security and diplomatic potency, said Pandey.

“All officials and political leaders in responsible positions have to follow the country’s diplomatic code, as it keeps our national morale high even in such a critical time and serves our national interest,” he added. Minister Pandey had also stated the same while in a meeting of the International Relations and Labour Committee of the Parliament on Tuesday.

The existing Diplomatic Code of Conduct, 2012 has stated that senior officials, including the President, prime minister, ministers and senior bureaucrats, and top political leaders must ensure that they get prior approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their meetings with foreign visiting dignitaries, envoys and other delegates.

They are also expected to share the matters they discussed with the foreigners with MoFA. However, the code has often been ignored by officials and leaders.

“If we continue to flout our own diplomatic norms, codes and decorum while dealing with foreign leaders, envoys and delegates, it will only weaken our diplomatic strength and harm our national interest,” said Pandey.

MoFA has been particularly critical of some former prime ministers’ and senior political figures’ pressure to fix one-on-one meetings with visiting foreign dignitaries.

“Former prime ministers, ministers and senior leaders are responsible persons; no matter whether they are in official position or not,” Minister Pandey told the House panel. “Why do they need to have separate meetings with the visiting foreign dignitaries?,” he wondered.